The Tampa Bay Rays will play the Cuban National Team in an exhibition game on Tuesday, March 22nd at Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana during an historic trip to the island nation, Major League Baseball (MLB) and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) officially announced today. This will be the first visit to Cuba by an MLB franchise since the Baltimore Orioles played an exhibition game against the Cuban National Team on March 28, 1999.
The news that the Gourriel brothers would not be returning to Cuba has led to all manner of controversies.
As I see it, this is without a doubt the most significant – albeit erroneously called – “desertion” in Cuban baseball history.
The decision by the two brothers – and 31-year-old Yulieski Gourriel in particular – has caught the attention of all main US sports publications and that of the media in other parts of the world as well.
The Cuban government lamented today having lost its top baseball player and one of its best prospects, Yulieski and Lourdes Jr. Gourriel.
Having long resisted the call to join dozens of other Cuban stars in the Major Leagues, Yulieski finally decided to make the jump. He is fresh off being the only Cuban to shine in the recently concluded Caribbean Series where he hit for a whopping .450 average.
A week ago there was every reason to understand there was no chance of Yoenis Cespedes returning to Citi Field and solving the lack of that big bat in the lineup for the New York Mets. Well in a matter of a few days, once again the tide has turned with multiple sources reporting that Cespedes and the Mets are talking again.
And the chances of Cespedes hitting that home run ball again as a Met are better than chances of winning the $1.5 billion Powerball Jackpot.
Two months after squaring up during the Premier12 in Taichung, the Netherlands and Cuba will face each other in a friendly match at Estadio Latinoamericano in Cuba’s capital Havana.
The exhibition game will be played on January 11 at 5.30pm local time, and is part of a Dutch social trade mission to the Caribbean country.
Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development leads a delegation of 127 persons to Cuba.
It is going to be the first time that a Dutch team is playing in Cuba since 2003.
Now that 2015 is over, it is a good time to have a quick look at what happened with Cuban baseball players over the last 12 months in different leagues in the world, including the Caribbean Series and the MLB.
The visit of MLB representatives to Cuba in December was a major turning point, which could help improve relations between the two countries in this field.
These are, in my opinion, some of the events and facts worth noting.